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What is retinal vein occlusion?

A retinal vein occlusion occurs when a vein in the eye’s retina is blocked. The retina is the layer of lightsensing cells lining the back of your eye. It converts light rays into signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images.

A blocked vein damages the blood vessels of the retina. Hemorrhages (bleeding) and leakage of fluid occurs from the areas of blocked blood vessels.

There are two different types of retinal vein occlusion:

  • Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO): when the main vein of the eye (located at the optic nerve) becomes blocked; and
  • Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO): when one of the smaller branches of vessels attached to the main vein becomes blocked

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.